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Government, Business Leaders at NBAA2010 Agree: Business Aviation Means Jobs

Atlanta, GA, October 19, 2010

"I don't know how you can have economic development without business aviation," Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (R) told the NBAA2010 Attendees at the show's Opening General Session this morning. "I'm delighted that our efforts have encouraged other states to recognize the contribution of business aviation."

During the session, Perdue was presented with the 2010 NBAA American Spirit Award for his long-standing support for business aviation, culminating in the issuance of a proclamation last year recognizing the industry's value. At the time the proclamation was issued, it was the first of its kind.

"At a time when business aviation had taken a couple of hits, Governor Perdue's leadership started a trend, and now 17 states across the country have issued such proclamations," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen when presenting the award to the governor. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate courage and service to others.

"In Georgia, we've invested in our aviation infrastructure," said Governor Perdue, "to keep bringing investors to our state quickly and conveniently. Investors are creating jobs all over our state because of business aviation," the governor added, a No Plane No Gain lapel pin visible on his suit jacket.

The message of investing in transportation infrastructure to maximize the job creation potential of business aviation was echoed by Opening General Session speaker Tom Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"We need to modernize our infrastructure," said Donohue, "We need to modernize our air traffic control system. We need to invest in our airports. We need more ramps, more runways… because business airplanes create jobs."

Donohue said that the Chamber estimates the U.S. needs to create 20 million jobs in the next 10 years to put the unemployed back to work and accommodate new workers, saying that in addition to investment in infrastructure, the way forward was through a rational tax policy and expanding trade.

"It would also be better if Congress didn't demonize legitimate business travel," said Donohue. "For every one dollar that companies spend on business travel, they generate $12.50 in increased revenue."

Calling the business aviation industry a "great American manufacturing success" that generates 1.2 million jobs, Donohue said, "Business aviation is critical to our recovery and economic growth."

Following Donohue on stage, Jimmy Hayes, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, gave clear examples of how business aviation had enabled his company to grow and provide longer, more fulfilling careers to its thousands of employees.

"Our company has been around since 1898," said Hayes, "And we've had a corporate aviation operation since 1940." Business aviation "plays a critical role in our success," he added.

A passionate pilot, Hayes also shared his emotionally moving experience as a volunteer for Angel Flight of Georgia, flying young children with life-threatening diseases to distant treatment centers. Hayes said he was proud of Cox's company values and that if the company's airplanes can take its leaders to meet with employees in other cities and bring them back to Atlanta to spend time with their families, then the assets are being used effectively.

"Aviation is an enabling tool that helps managers and employees do their jobs better," said Hayes, reading testimonials of employees whose jobs would not be possible without the company's flight department. "That's why I'm a passionate believer in business aviation."

Review the Opening General Session photo gallery.